MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Maika Sivo of the Eels looks on after the Eels loss during the NRL Semi Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Parramatta Eels at AAMI Park on September 21, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Maika Sivo of the Eels looks on after the Eels loss during the NRL Semi Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Parramatta Eels at AAMI Park on September 21, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Avalanche of stupidity! Eels still have much to learn

Cameron Smith's slap in the face won't be the last for a Parramatta player.

Not if Eels coach Brad Arthur wants to see the type of increase in development and maturity that wins premierships.

The club's end of season review will praise Parramatta's climb from the bottom of rugby league's Mt Everest from 16th last year, to fifth spot in 2019.

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Parramatta are just a little off the top sides. Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images.
Parramatta are just a little off the top sides. Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images.

The season review will laud the arrival of leading tryscorer Maika Sivo, the welcomed dominance from halfback of Mitchell Moses and the rise in talented youngsters Dylan Brown, Reed Mahoney and Ray Stone.

But be it in a November honesty session or on the sandhills of the Central Coast, Arthur needs to keep a tape of the Eels opening 30 minutes in-hand.

It's the half-hour of footy the Eels will want to forget - but in reality, it's their cracking under the pressure of a brilliant Storm side which should never erase.

Put simply, it was some of the dumbest and most immature football seen this year.

It began in the second minute with Junior Paulo spilling the ball.

The drop was all Melbourne needed to start their field position pressure. Josh Addo-Carr's runaway try lighting the scoreboard up for the first time.

From there, it was an avalanche of stupidity from the Eels, by incredibly, the second most-disciplined side in the NRL.

The Eels never recovered from a dire opening quarter. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images.
The Eels never recovered from a dire opening quarter. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images.

Only Souths (5.5 per game) have conceded more penalties on average than Parramatta (5.6) in defence this year.

But on Saturday night, Kane Evans - in his first game back from suspension - did everything you can promise Arthur would've demanded from his side, to play as a unit.

Instead, Evans went rogue in the 8th minute, charging with his shoulder into Dale Finucane.

One minute later, which is even harder to believe, Sivo was placed on report for a shoulder charge on Ryan Papenhuyzen.

Storm 8-0 after 10 minutes.

More Eels dropped ball; Storm 12-0 after 18 minutes.

The Eels couldn’t replicate their form from last week. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images.
The Eels couldn’t replicate their form from last week. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images.

Clint Gutherson's ordinary chip-kick that hits the corner post on the full; try to Jarohme Hughes just two minutes later to make 18-0.

If not for Smith converting just one from five to lead 22-0 after 28 minutes, Melbourne would've been taking players off to rest for the Roosters next week.

On the back of their hammering of Brisbane last week, the Eels travelled to Melbourne with confidence.

And so they should've.

But you wonder what they learned from playing touch football?

On Saturday night they learned the toughest lesson of all from the masters of finals footy.

When the Eels are back here in 2020, it could prove to be their most valuable lesson of all.

News Corp Australia


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